Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mental Game Challenged Plum Man on 'Alone'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mental Game Challenged Plum Man on 'Alone'

Article excerpt

The idea of running into cougars or black bears wasn't a major concern for Dustin Feher. As for lack of food, well, he'd gone hungry before out in the wilderness.

This challenge was more internal.

"One of my biggest fears was overthinking," said Mr. Feher, 37, a carpenter by trade who lives in Plum. "Because when you're alone, you have a lot of time to think."

Mr. Feher was indeed, "Alone." As one of 10 men competing for a $500,000 prize, it was his business to keep moving, create food and shelter, avoid "apex predators" and film the whole experience for a global reality television program.

"Alone" premieres at 10 p.m. Thursday on History. It also gets a worldwide rollout across 200 territories on various platforms via the A&E networks.

The contestants - survivalists, outdoorsmen, hunters - were dropped off at different points in the rugged northern section of British Columbia's Vancouver Island. Each was permitted to bring 10 useful items, from a waterproof tarp to a fishing line to a slingshot, in their attempts to be the last man standing.

They were provided with cameras, some featuring motion-detecting sensors, and charged with capturing not only their day-to-day existence, their reflections after another cold, wet day, but also the beauty of their surroundings.

Mr. Feher, a Gateway High School graduate who grew up in Monroeville, said, "It took me awhile to learn to remember what I was thinking while I was doing the [film] setup. In real life, I don't really talk to myself but here I was thinking out loud more than actually talking.

"To me, that was an important process. I thought that would make it more 'real.' "

Unlike other reality shows, such as "Survivor," where it's apparent film and production crews are close at hand, the men really were by themselves. There were safety measures (each had a satellite phone) in place in case someone got hurt or just wanted to call it quits, but the physical presence of help was distant.

The effects of isolation were also a concern. Boredom was one thing, but from online clips, it appears some of the men were close to tears. …

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